Wisconsin roads have been covered with snow and ice due to a winter storm that has caused fatal accidents. Three people have died and many more have been injured in Milwaukee and the surrounding counties. Snow pushed into the southeastern part of the state Sunday causing treacherous conditions for drivers.
A stretch of I-43 in Ozaukee County was blocked off by a total of 60 crashed vehicles. Both Waukesha and Washington counties were affected by numerous multi-vehicle accidents that backed up traffic for hours.
In Milwaukee County one person was killed in a rollover accident that took place around 11 am. Fran McLaughlin, spokesperson for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, said that between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm officers responded to 46 separate traffic problems.
Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies tended to 39 crashes in which 6 people were injured but 19 vehicles remained disabled on the roadway.
South of Milwaukee, in Racine County, 60 crashes occurred between 10 am and 4 pm. One man died in an accident involving multiple vehicles. The accident led to a seven hour shutdown of the affected eastbound/southbound I-94 segment.
In Dodge County a third driver was killed at approximately 1:30 pm on Highway 68 when he drove his car into a semitrailer truck. Dodge County Sheriff’s Office said that an investigation indicated that the crash was not due to weather conditions.
A winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for southeastern Wisconsin until 6:00 am Monday. It is advised that people stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. In the event travel is required drivers need to reduce driving speeds, leave extra room between them and other drivers, and be cautious of dangers like fog or black ice. All extra precautions should be taken to prevent the Wisconsin winter storm from causing more fatal accidents.
A spokeswoman, from Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, said that as of 5 pm the hospital had treated 19 people who were injured in automobile accidents. Eleven of the patients were in satisfactory condition and eight others were listed as critical. Two other hospitals in the Milwaukee area were kept busy with victims of crashes but numbers had not been made available. “They’ve been swamped all day,” Adam Beeson from Aurora Hospital told news reporters.
Despite the horrible road conditions Mitchell International Airport reported only a few cancellations and delays. Spokesman Harold Mester from the airport said, “The vast majority of flights are operating on time today.”
The City of Milwaukee has an arsenal of 93 salt trucks to deal with weather conditions that get this nasty. They began spreading salt on the streets Sunday morning. In one neighborhood an experiment is being carried out to try to protect waterways and bridges. A mixture of liquid cheese brine and rock salt is being spread on the roads in Bay View.
Cheese brine is a cheesemaking byproduct that could help reduce the amount of rock salt that will be spread on the roads each winter. Rock salt is corrosive and compromises water quality when it runs off of the streets.
More snow is expected Sunday night and depending upon lake effect winds may leave an additional 6 inches on the ground. The snow is expected to gradually decrease early Monday morning according to the weather service. Monday will still be cold with highs around 20, but the morning should bring an end to this winter storm which has caused several fatal accidents in Wisconsin.
By Lara Stielow